duane reade redux

duane reade

I like fancy. I like French manicured toes and the notion of finger bowls, despite not quite knowing what to do with them–you know, aside from (gasp) serving soup in them. I like using the fine china on a Tuesday. I like bubbles in my alcohol and water. I’m a fan of crinoline and tragically high heels. I have a thing for floral printed silk scarves and wallpaper–I adore wallpaper… and hats! The bigger the better–good thing I now live in Texas.

I read recently that Duane Reade, a chain of New York drug stores, is updating its look. Re-branding. Not exactly fancy, but a step up from the Hanes Her Way end-caps. With the re-branding will there be a new level of service? Unless the people who actually work there are forced to chew speed and memorize the alphabet, you’ll have to find a helluva lot more smudge-proof lipstick for the pig.

A YEAR AGO: Making Puddings and Knitting Stockings
2 YEARS AGO: The Last Resort
3 YEARS AGO: Flying High, Flying Solo, and Other Flying Mistakes
4 YEARS AGO: Languageless



  1. We can’t bring back the many mom & pop pharmacies they helped put out of business, but we can pray for a city without a DR on every other corner.

  2. The service hasn’t changed. Just as slow and dumb as always. Is it any better at the chain pharmacies down in Texas?

  3. i like girly/fancy too. flowers, high heels, dainty jewlery, love love it all. but i’m too damn lazy to fiddle in a flower garden, wondering what the hell is eating my plants, i’m too fat for high heels and winde up with aching ankles if i try to wear them and i rarely wear any jewlery b/c of my uniform enforced career. but i love it all in THEORY. kinda off subject…but anyway.

  4. Duane Reade + 100% hajib wearing employees + “where’s the pig lipstick?” = run. fast.

  5. French manicures are kinda tacky and dated now. Noooooo!
    And you are such a such a libra they love nice pretty things. It’s fun!

  6. CVS is doing the same thing out here in California. It’s kinda like a Sephora exploded inside of a drug store.

  7. Barbara, I’m a little confused – what is the problem with employees who wear the hijab (assuming these employees are competent, qualified, etc.)?

    1. NYC DR’s are almost invariably 100% Muslim staffed. Pigs (and dogs) are unclean animals to observant Muslims. Further, pigs (at least the ones I’ve met — an admittedly small sampling) do not wear lipstick. So to ask a Muslim staffer where to find an item inappropriate for an animal, and not just any animal but an animal particularly offensive to the askee, could result in animosity and/or hostility on the part of the askee. OK, K? Come back tomorrow, and I’ll parse the one about the rabbi, the priest and the duck who walk into a Turkish bath.

      1. Really? Where do you live? The ones by my home and school and work ( so we’re talking Brooklyn, Bronx, and lower Manhattan) are staffed with bored teens of a variety of races, very grumpy elderly white ladies, and african americans in their 20’s-30’s of indeterminate religious background. The only thing these DR employees have in common is their mystifying inability to provide customer service. Seriously, why are DR’s so much worse than Rite Aid and CVS in New York?

        Why would asking anything to a Muslim employee promote hostility? Perhaps it’s different, but I work with many Orthodox Jews, and no one gets offended when I eat a roast beef and swiss or mentioned living with my boyfriend unwed, treyf, anything that’s not what they do. If anything, folks know that they can’t judge if they don’t want to be judged, and working with the ultra-conservative has shown me hope open minded the very religious can be. Not saying they always are, but neither am I!

  8. If you like fancy, then you check out the kids book,”Fancy Nancy.” Cute and ~fancy~

  9. Our neighborhood Duane Reade is going through the upgrade, but to the point, their service is horrendous. I much prefer the mom / pop shop (Whitney Chemist) on the next block over and will continue to give them my business. They even deliver in case of an emergency, which DR definitely doesn’t do even in NYC!

  10. Hi,
    I know this is off topic, but I was in Anchorage, Alaska last week for work and in really the only book store in downtown. I was looking in the “memoirs” section, and found your book prominantly displayed, although it was the only one left. Apparently, you’re pretty popular in Anchorage! You’re everywhere.
    Just thought I would share: )

  11. I do prefer CVS to Duane Reade in general, but there’s one little problem: CVS doesn’t carry Essie nail polish, and this recessionista can’t afford to hit the salon once/twice a week for a fresh coat of polish like she used to! So, until CVS starts stocking my “starter wife” and “vanity fairest”, I’m stuck with DR and their god-awful customer service. It could be worse, at least I don’t have to wait on the pharmacy line for my nail polish.

  12. I actually have noticed a slight ‘up-tick’ in DR’s customer service of late. When asking for the location of say, Preparation H, they gladly will walk you to it , even if its downstairs or upstairs.

    Even better, when checking out, the cashier is instructed to say, ‘did you find everything you were looking for.’ To me, kind of a meaningless question, but at least its an effort towards improving things.

  13. The first time I saw Duane Reade in NYC I bought tons of stuff I didn’t need just because the idea of a giant convenience store was so cool to me.

  14. “My inlaws used to live on Duane St. It’s all I still have to hear. When I saw it was also a drug store, that did it. I boycotted. Make any sense at all?”

  15. I was in one of the redone ones a few months ago (34th/8th) and smack in the middle was a snack section with…hummus and carrot sticks. At a drugstore! It was totally surreal. Not complaining, but still, strange.

  16. Actually the customer service is better if only because it is CLEAR that there is only one line. In the old set up everyone waits in 3 lines and them yelling at you ” there is only one line!!!”

    And the one one 34/8 is CLEAN and well laid out. the snacks are there for people coming in and out of Penn station

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